Pro-Chinese sources initial instigators, attempt to malign Dalai Lama’s image: CTA leader on viral video

NEW DELHI, Apr 13: A top political leader of the Central Tibetan Administration in India Thursday said the Tibetan people were hurt by the insinuations made over a recent viral video linked with the Dalai Lama and a boy, and alleged that “pro-Chinese sources” were trying to tarnish the spiritual leader’s image.

Addressing the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of South Asia here, Penpa Tsering, Sikyong of the Central Tibetan Administration (government-in-exile), also alleged that China is ruling Tibet with an iron fist and trying to seek legitimacy from the international community.

The Sikyong (political leader of CTA) later also took questions from the audience on a range of issues, including on the recent video associated with the Dalai Lama and a boy.

The Dalai Lama on April 10 apologised to the boy, his family and friends for the “hurt his words may have caused” after the video clip purportedly showing the Tibetan spiritual head asking him to “suck” his tongue sparked a row.

In the two-minute-five-second video, the Dalai Lama also asked the child “to look at those good human beings who create peace, and happiness and not follow those who kill other people”.

Tsering described the gesture as an “innocent grandfatherly affectionate demeanour” that was followed by his “jovial prank” with a tongue.

“And that was meant for amusement for others. Now, who’s the victim? The boy is not complaining, his mother is not complaining. The victim here is, His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” he said.

Tsering said the clip being circulated was “tailored” and the entire video should be seen to understand the context. The purported incident took place at Tsuglagkhang, the main Tibetan temple in McLeodganj on February 28. The video was made viral later, he said.

“Through our investigation, we found that the initial instigators were pro-Chinese sources. That explains the motivation behind making this video clip viral.

“It needs no explanation as to who would gain from maligning the image, reputation and legacy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Considering the scale and extent of the orchestrated smear campaign, the political angle of this incident cannot be ignored,” Tsering alleged.

He asserted that the Dalai Lama lives an “unblemished life”, practising compassion, non-violence and oneness of humanity, all his life.

The Dalai Lama is 87 years old and he lived all his life in the sanctity of an oath-bound simple Buddhist monk including celibacy. His spiritual practice has taken him “beyond the sensorial pleasures” and has always been preaching higher levels of realisation for eternal freedom from the cycle of Samsara, the Sikyong said.

“People have perceived and interpreted it (video) in different ways. I don’t blame them, they may have their opinions, and they might see it their own way. Because the clip was tailored for that… And His Holiness was being labelled with all kinds of names,” Tsering said.

But for Tibetans, the Dalai Lama is a reincarnation of the Avalokiteshwara, the Lord of compassion and “his compassion and love extends beyond all this. We are hurt by the insinuations,” he said.

Tsering said the Dalai Lama is known around the world for his playful “antics” like cuddling, hugging, touching a nose, and forehead-to-forehead greeting, which is a “genuine manifestation of his compassion for all human beings, irrespective of their status in society”.

He also cited the instance of the Dala Lama’s meeting with Desmond Tutu and the playful way they had greeted each other.

Tsering also alleged that the “Chinese propaganda is so big” that they have been trying to say that “Tibet has been part of China since antiquity”.

Asked if he foresaw a resolution of the Sino-Tibetan conflict in the lifetime of the current Dalai Lama, the Sikyong said he was hopeful.

“But, we are ready to engage with the Chinese government, and we have to engage. Peaceful resolution of the Sino-Tibetan conflict has to be achieved and it cannot be achieved without talking with the Chinese government. The second reality is that till such a resolution is to the Sino-Tibetan conflict, we will be reaching out to the international community and China should not take offence,” Tsering said.

If there is a “positive gesture” and a commitment from the Chinese government, “we are ready to reach out but we cannot be taken for a ride”, Tsering said.

To a question on the incidents at border areas in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh in recent times, he said, it is unfortunate that China is engaging in “unprovoked belligerence”. (PTI)